Last updated: May 4, 2020
A grow tent can be a very rewarding project for any new cannabis grower, but setting them up can be a bit of a hassle depending on the amount of space and the grower’s experience. There are a few things that are needed before closing your plants up inside an environment like this, so let’s go over some of the key necessities for settings things up, aside from the grow tent itself.
Cannabis, more than anything, loves a consistent environment. Fluctuating the lighting, watering, and temperatures will harm the plant at the end of growth. Furthermore, because grow tents are small and enclosed, we want to be using things in it that aren’t going to have a difficult to control impact on the environment that the plants are in.
Popping up the grow tents structure should be done as directed with whatever instructions are included with it. There are too many variables with this to include in an article safely. However, there is one piece that should be consistent throughout all models.
Towards the top of the tent, there is a supportive structure known as the crossbar. These need to be set up carefully as this is where important systems such as ventilation and lighting will hang. There should be a recommended weight limit assigned to these as well, which may be included in the instructions or elsewhere with the product. Be sure to heed these to avoid structural failure.
Lighting will be one of the most consequential pieces of equipment in the grow tent. They hang from the crossbars of the tent, directly over where the plants will be. LED lights are ideal for this type of environment, not only because of their energy efficiency but also because of the limited amount of heat they produce.
Though they still will produce heat, the amount is much more controllable than an HPS system under the same circumstances. The amount of light required will vary depending on the size of the tent, and especially the number of plants, but with an LED system you can get a lot more light with much less heat.
Every grow tent should have two flaps. One is needed for intake and the other for exhaust.c
Since the grow tent is a mostly sealed environment, the fan system should hang from the crossbars of the tent, connected to filtered exhaust piping to avoid odors later on. This piping should lead outside of the tent through the exhaust hole, preferably to a window or somewhere outside of the house.
The intake and exhaust work from the same mechanism, like bellows or lungs. Further air circulation should be provided as well to avoid stagnant air from building up on the bottom of the tent. Floor fans pointed upwards are ideal for this and help keep the air quality around the tent.
Gauges to read both temperature and humidity should be kept inside the tent and checked at least daily. Cannabis plants grow best between 70-85°F, even when the lights are off. Keeping it from swinging too much is key to happy plants.
Lighting works well as a heater, if being too cold is a worry; however, if the tent is consistently getting too hot, alternative sources of coolness need to be sourced.
A small AC unit can do the job, as well as an additional intake fan that pumps cold air from somewhere else into the tent at all times.
Humidity should be maintained at around 60%, and the exhaust fan should be able to handle this on its own. Turn the fan on more often if the humidity tends to get above 60%, and if that doesn’t do the trick, then a small dehumidifier may be required to avoid mold growth.
A lot of this equipment is electrical and needs to be kept dry to avoid hazards. Before starting the grow by introducing plants to the environment, make sure all cords are organized and off the floor. Furthermore, if water ever pools near any electrical equipment, make adjustments ASAP to avoid potentially catastrophic damage to the whole system.
Give it a test run before introducing cannabis to the system. See if everything is working well by itself, take notes of the temperature and other variables in the system by itself; that way, it can be easier to dial in on potential issues if they come up later when the plants are involved.
It is important to keep a grow tent clean. The environment created here is ideal for cannabis, but also a whole host of bacteria and molds. Between grows, be sure to deeply sanitize the tent with peroxide to avoid contamination on later use.
Spot cleaning during growth can be accomplished with a combination of peroxide and water, in small quantities. Alcohol and bleach should not be used here, at all, due to the build-up of fumes that can happen quite quickly in such a small environment.
Setting up a grow tent is a great way to get an understanding of how a grow operation is going to work. The steps needed are simple, but important and require double-checking before adding plant life to the system. Keep an eye on the temperature, humidity, and make sure the tent is structurally set up properly and everything should work out just fine.
Featured Image Credit: Marc Fuyà, Flickr
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